It’s apparent that we’ll be spending more time in and around Puebla, a very beautiful and lively city. Yesterday we ventured into Pueblo Centro and it was quite a ride. Helen talked about taking a taxi, but I nixed that idea. I have seen the way Mexican taxi drivers drive in the traffic and it terrifies me. The thought of careening around in the back seat as the very small ( by my girth and standards) taxi negotiates it’s way through traffic was not appealing to me. I let Helen drive while I navigated. It took a little effort even with the GPS set to a street in the Centro. When the GPS says to take a left in 300 feet, Helen is ready to take the next left. I had to explain that 300 feet was probably at the traffic light about 300 feet ahead and not the next left 50 feet away.
There is considerable gridlock in parts of the city, but the natives know how to adjust.
Here the traffic is backed up on this side of a divided street. The answer is to swing across the median at a gap and drive into oncoming traffic. And that is just what we did. Fortunately, just a hundred feet in the opposing lane, we found an underground parking lot and quickly made our escape, following that white car you see below.
We took the stairs up to a market where there was a guard. I showed him our tourist map and asked him to mark on the map exactly where we were. X would mark the spot of the parking lot. It took him quite a while to mark a spot, and as it turned out, he was wrong. As we left the building, I noticed that we were at the corner of 11 Norte and 6 Poniente. In a short while I realized how everything was laid out and it was a breeze finding our way.
Our first order of business was to find an ATM, but we found a park and church first. The park had a lot of fountains and trees and was across the street from an ornately tiled church.
Helen in front of one of the water features and below is a picture of the church across the street.
Next we set out for Puebla Centro via an ATM. Not a problem as there are ATMs everywhere. With cash in hand we continued we continued to what we think is the main plaza But stopped at a cafeteria for a bite. I was dazzled by the prospect of a club sandwich while Helen couldn't resist quesadillas (sp?). We both drank a Limonada.
This is a picture of the lush growth in the park opposite the state administration building. It was being spruced up while we were there as they prepare for the Noche de Muerte Festival that starts Thursday. Helen has been doing a web search on where to be for the festivities and this is one of the major places.
It seems that no matter where you go, you run into the low life of the area.
There was much to see and too much to post about the sights of the Centro district. When ever we had to make contact with the population, we always succeeded, partly because we are learning a little Spanish, but mostly because the people all want to help as much as possible.
In several locations we saw where some kind of meat was being roasted on a vertical spit. The coals are on the shelves behind the tower of meat (beef perhaps or pork, we’re not sure). The tower of meat is made of thin layers, one on top of the other and the spit is constantly turning.
As it rotates, the “cook” slices off the cooked portion and it drops into a pan on the bottom, so what he ends up with is shaved meat. We didn’t stop there yesterday, but tomorrow……….
Today I went out on my own to Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and the TelCel regional office. I was surprised to see that the regional office was not as spiffy as the office in Saltillo. Saltillo was spotless. The staff was well groomed. I was able to find someone who spoke very good English. Here, the grooming was not quite as good, one girl in a sweater and jeans. The office, though not dirty, was not as spotless as Satillo. However, I went there to find out how to determine how much time I have on my cell phones and internet stick. More important, I found out how to get the information myself. The papers that came with the phone say to key in *333 and it will give you your balance. It does, very quickly and in Spanish. No help. Now I know that if I press*133#, I get the results printed on the screen. It works for me. As for my other two stops, if you’ve seen one Super Wal-mart and Home Depot, you’ve seen them all.
In Mexico, the driver use their directional for two purposes. one is to signal an actual turn. The other purpose is to tell you to pass them. So I’m coming up on a truck, he’s ahead and to my right and he puts his left turn signal on. Does he want me to pass or is he going to turn? If I start to pass and he turns…………
In a similar situation, I was almost at the entrance to Wal-Mart and I was in the right lane and there was heavy traffic. I turned on my right turn signal to let those behind me that I was turning right. The woman behind me apparently thought I was signaling her to pass,because she passed me on the right, even though she had to drive partly off the road.
That’s it for now.